FAIRFIELD (CBS SF) – A Fairfield man who was a former chief financial officer for a company that managed auto dealerships pleaded guilty in connection to an embezzling scheme from his employer.
Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert’s office announced that 51-year-old Christopher Firle admitted to one count of wire fraud at a hearing on Tuesday. According to court documents, Firle misappropriated more than $1.6 million from the company from January 2016 through September 2019.READ MORE: Emeryville Tax Preparer Accused Of Filing Dozens Of Fraudulent Returns, Teaching Fraud In 'Tax School'
Prosecutors said Firle carried out the scheme through several different methods.
With company credit cards, he paid more than $750,000 in personal expenses. Unauthorized charges included tickets to sporting events and purchases at high-end retailers, including Bergdorf Goodman, Chanel, Hermes, Nordstrom and Tiffany.READ MORE: Liana Wallace On 'Survivor' All-Black Alliance Falling Apart: 'Just Wanted Us To Make Top 8, Then We Can Have World War II''
Prosecutors said Firle embezzled another $500,000 through more than 30 wire transfers to a family member. Meanwhile, Firle issued more than $165,000 unauthorized company checks to himself, withdrew $50,000 from a company account and issued himself nearly $160,000 in bonuses.
With his guilty plea, prosecutors said Firle agreed to pay restitution of nearly $1.94 million to his employer and forfeit another $1.65 million to the U.S. He also faces up to 20 years in prison $250,000 fine.MORE NEWS: Man Wins $1 Million On Scratch-Off Lottery Ticket Gifted To Him After Heart Surgery
Firle is scheduled to be sentenced on October 19.